The Chinese virus is still there but there come its local versions, with the South African version, the Brazilian version or the English version. On the vaccination side, there is not a single person in Europe wha has not heard about Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V or AstraZeneca. These are the rocking stars of the moment, namely the anti-Covid vaccines which are now available (more or less) and gradually administered to the European populations.
Some countries are implementing new lockdowns (France, Portugal,), in general with a certain brutally; others are on their way to – sort of – normal life again (Britain, Israel, Germany), usually gradually.
And during that time, the COVID bill is increasing, everyday bigger.
Spain: riots and politician calculation
Riots in Spain have surged, following the arrest of a communist and anti-monarchist singer that had been sentenced to nine months jail sentence for defending terrorism. In this chaotic context, the leader of Podemos, the young and growing left-wing party, has decided to leave the government coalition to be able to stand for the next regional elections scheduled for May 4 as a free man.
New Caledonia (France)
Fall of the loyalist government following the departure of the independence party FLNKS. The strange thing in that event is that the departure of this independence party from the government will probably allow the separatists to rule the island for the first time since 1998 and the “Noumea Agreement”. The future new head of government is excepted to be Mr Samuel Hnepeune, president of the Caledonian Medef (the main employer’s union in France) and CEO of AirCal, the local airline.
Italy: el arte de la combinazione
A new and surprising new government has been put in place: Mario Draghi, former head of the Italian central bank and then of the European central bank becomes Prime Minister again, joined by Matteo Salvini (Lega party – sovereignist right), the M5S (nonconformist – unclassifiable party), Forza Italia (liberal center right) and the Democratic Party and the micro party of Matteo Renzi (center left). Italian-style coupling unlikely.
Reasons: the current head of state, center-left, does not want new legislative elections and the arrival of a Salvini Prime Minister who would then have to manage two major Italian deadlines: the next presidential election and the distribution of the European stimulus package of 209 billion euros.
Matteo Salvini also does not want to be away from power for these next two major deadlines. So, as he failed to obtain early general election, he takes note of that situation and returns to the government. A word exists to sum it up: “Combinazione”
Ukraine and Black Sea
Weapons can be heard again in eastern Ukraine, in Dombass region. As for the Black Sea, it would be rather the noise of aviso warships. Indeed Turkey has questioned the status quo on the sea limit cuts between neighboring countries. A giant chess game is going to be played out there in the next few years, and very smart who can say who wins.
Europe being a Christianized continent, the vast majority of its inhabitants celebrate Easter during March, sometimes a few days apart (between Orthodox and Catholics). Even the Jewish Passover, “Pessah”, took place this year the same week as the Catholic Easter.
Nord Stream 2 and oil diplomacy
With a certain “panache” to be welcomed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to complete the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is 95% complete. For their part, the Americans are increasing the pressure so that this project never succeeds, because – so they say – Russia would obtain leverage on Europe. They are careful not to say what really bothers the Unites States of America: this pipeline will greatly reduce their leverage on Europe and Russia. To achieve their aim, the Americans are pulling out extraterritorial sanctions, which are just a diplomatic arm-wrench. To be continued.